Approximately 100 members of the Mercy Hospital Auxiliary turned out for a recent luncheon to celebrate the organization’s 50th anniversary.
The celebration included recognition of past auxiliary presidents, long-term members and past candy stripers, recollections by past officers and presentation of awards to current members.
Sister Margaret Andrews opened the meeting with prayer, and Auxiliary President Glenna Lawrence presided. The group received special acknowledgment and thanks from several guest speakers, including local legislators Sen. Jeff King and Rep. Jim Kelly and from Mercy Hospital President Eric Ammons.
Members paid tribute to another special guest in attendance, Independence resident Violet Brechbill, who was a charter member of the auxiliary when it formed on May 8, 1961.
Keynote speaker for the event was Mary Lou Rawson, president of the Hospital Auxiliaries of Kansas organization. Rawson shared statistics related to hospital volunteerism across the state, noting that there are 60 active auxiliaries, composed of approximately 9,000 members who contributed 733,192 hours of service last year.
Today, the Independence group is composed of approximately 125 active members who contribute nearly 20,000 hours of service annually to the Mercy ministry, providing a variety of services, from mail delivery to information desk staffing to patient and family comfort duties and special fundraising activities. The organization also provides annual financial grants to hospital departments, as well as education scholarships to students in clinical coursework.